In order to advance the Strategy’s goals, a cross-NOAA team of scientific experts, regulatory practitioners, managers, and lawyers who are knowledgeable in the field of ocean noise and represent multiple programs or authorities through which NOAA regulates, researches, or produces ocean noise. Participants identified the need for a Roadmap document to articulate the goals of the Strategy and to suggest approaches for achieving a more integrated and comprehensive understanding and management of ocean noise impacts.
The purpose of the NOAA Ocean Noise Strategy Roadmap is to support the agency’s use of its capabilities and authorities to more effectively understand and address the effects of noise on protected species and acoustic habitats. Four chapters address key elements of the Strategy’s approach and provide place-based examples:
Chapter 1: Reviewing species level impacts of ocean noise and associated management actions
Chapter 2: Establishing the foundation for understanding and managing acoustic habitats for NOAA trust species and places
Chapter 3: Reviewing NOAA’s current capability to characterize aquatic soundscapes and enhancing this capacity for the future
Chapter 4: Applying risk assessment to place-based examples that highlight Roadmap science and management recommendations
NOAA has expertise distributed across multiple line offices and programs and stationed across the country that is being used to better understand and mitigate ocean noise impacts. As directed by the Strategy’s implementation documents (Policy and Procedural Directives), every two years, work plans are drafted to coordinate implementation across agency programs, and to focus collective efforts towards high priority activities.
Across the agency, programs engaged in implementing the Strategy contribute activities to the work plans and report on their progress. Activities are categorized according to their scope as flagship, national, regional, or sub-regional (e.g., within a division, branch, laboratory, or program). Strategy co-leads support NOAA programs in contributing to the work plan, and identify further opportunities for collaboration or synergy among activities. Here, we report on activity completed under the 2017-2019 work plan as well as activities identified for future effort in 2019-2021.
- There were 90 activities identified in the Strategy’s first two year work plan. Effort was focused on all four of the Strategy’s goals, and included collaboration across five NOAA line offices. The highest proportion of activity addressed science needs and were being conducted at the sub-regional scale. Simultaneously, three “flagship” activities were implemented that necessitated national coordination and partnership across line offices in order to address priority next steps identified in the Roadmap’s Executive Summary.
- There are 99 activities included in the Strategy’s second work plan. Approximately half of these activities are new starts versus continuation of 2017-2019 activities. Patterns of effort were similar to 2017-2019, with the highest level of effort associated with science needs and conducted sub regionally. However, new activities in 2019-2021 also include implementation of additional nationally-coordinated flagship activities to implement high priority recommendations.
In 2026, the Ocean Noise Strategy will evaluate decadal progress towards its visionary goals for the agency’s efforts to better understand and manage ocean noise. Despite ongoing commitment to these goals, NOAA is not operating in isolation. The level and type of activity that the agency engages in is constantly changing to reflect new scientific findings and new priorities for resource protection. Work plans are designed to be responsive to these dynamics.